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THE memory of Gavin Lang will run deep at Albion Park on Saturday night. Not only are all the races on the night named after Lang and some of the major winners he drove in Queensland, but Hectorjayjay makes his long-awaited and unlikely comeback in a race named after himself. Lang’s association with Hectorjayjay ran deep. He drove the superstar 13 times for nine wins, three seconds and a luckless fifth. The biggest wins were the Group 1 Len Smith Mile and the Group 2 Sunshine Sprint, which was at Albion Park back on July 9, 2016. Lang then trained and drove Hectorjayjay to win his only run in a comeback campaign at Kilmore on June 30, 2018, before he went amiss again. Saturday night will be Hectorjayjay’s first run he won at Kilmore for Lang. Hectorjayjay has raced just once winning the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15, 2017. The nine-year-old has been nursed back for one last comeback attempt by Queensland trainer Jack Butler, who is both excited but measured in his approach to Saturday night’s race. “He’s as good as we can have him after a long, slow build-up and a couple of trials, but he’ll be driven quiet and to use that speed of his at the finish,” Butler said. “After so long out, he’s not ready to blast off the gate, especially from outside the front. “He’ll go back, hopefully the race will be run strongly, which it should be with Glenferrie Hood up front, and he’ll be storming home. “A pass mark for me is for him to hit the line really well and come through it in good fashion. “But, and I say but because he’s such an amazing horse, it wouldn’t surprise me if he won, especially if he can get the right sort of ride into the race.”   Adam Hamilton

Talented Queensland harness racing driver Lachie Manzelmann blew punters out of the water with an unwanted longshot at the weekend, but he was far from surprised. "I just thought we'd get a perfect trail from inside the back-row draw and while her form didn't look great on paper, she hadn't been having much luck," he said. Manzelmann, 20, landed 80/1 rank outsider Miss Giulietta (Somebeachsomewhere-East Empress (Presidential Ball) in the Kerry Ebert-Life Member Pace at Redcliffe on Sunday night. And it's not the first time he's been the bookmakers' pin-up boy - he's steered home long-shot winners on two previous occasions. The Redcliffe race panned out pretty much exactly as the youngster had predicted with the pole horse Im Isabella (John Kerr) holding the lead and bowling along at a steady clip. "We were always going to get the sweet run and I was confident I could be right in it with the aid of the sprint lane. In the end it all worked out well," Manzelmann said. Miss Giulietta just got the first prize with a short head margin over Shadys Delight (Trent Moffat) with a half head back to third placegetter Having The Faith (Zac Chappenden). To watch the replay of Miss Giulietta's victory click here. Manzelmann said he only had two engagements at the Redcliffe meeting, the pair being trained on the track by Bianca Hooper. "I thought they both had rough chances with the right runs. I just missed with Bianca's first one, getting beaten by a half head on Michaels Desire. So, I must admit that I then had high hopes for Miss Giulietta," he said. "She is an honest filly. I actually won on her about six starts ago in January at the track. Bianca only trains three or four, but she does a good job." Two other long-priced winners have been landed in recent years by the young driver who is nearing 150 career victories. Manzelmann got former old warrior Cruisin Carl (Western Terror-Official Search) up at odds of 80/1 for trainer Shane Parrish at Albion Park on September 2, 2017. "I remember that very well because it was my first metropolitan win," he said. Cruisin Carl ended up with 24 wins and 54 placings for $120,000 from a massive 248 starts. He raced from 2010 to 2017. And it's fair to say that Manzelmann and supporters of the Shane and Lauren Tritton stable won't be forgetting the night the youngster claimed the $100,000 Group One Newcastle Mile on February 8 last year with Yayas Hot Spot (Jeremes Jet-Star Of Heaven)-also at 80/1. "That win was special. I worked for Team Tritton for nearly two years and it was a fantastic experience. They gave me a heap of opportunities and I learnt a lot," he said. Manzelmann later joined the boutique McDowell stable, where he stayed for four months. Then it was back to his native Queensland. "I started my career with Pete McMullen and initially I was there for three years. Now I've rejoined Pete and Chantal and I'm really enjoying it." Over the past few seasons, he has continually increased on his tally of winners-having a standout 2018/19 season with 61 wins and 94 placings for $636,000. Manzelmann has two drives at Albion Park this afternoon-but pre-post markets are playing it safe with Kotiro (race 5) quoted a $3.40 chance, with Arthur Lowe (race 7) a little longer at $15.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

FORMER superstar Hectorjayjay is ready to head back to the races after coming through today’s (Tuesday) Albion Park trial win in pleasing style. Trainer Jack Butler confirmed the multiple Group 1 winner and Inter Dominion runner-up would resume at Albion Park on Saturday week. “That’s the next step. He’s done everything he can now to prepare for a race,” he said. Hectorjayjay cruised through a slick 26.8sec quarter at the end of a 1min54.9sec mile rate for 1660m to easily beat Victoria Derby runner-up Governor Jujon in the trial. “Brendan (Barnes, driver) didn’t pull the plugs and said he felt great,” Butler said. “I know Governor Jujon is only a three-year-old, but he’s a lovely horse and a good benchmark at this stage. “He seems to have come through it well and, as long he’s good over the next week or so, he’ll go to that Albion Park race on May 2.” Barnes snagged Hectorjayjay back to last from an outside draw in the trial before making a midrace move to eventually land the one-one trail. The nine-year-old had Governor Jujon covered turning from home and cruised to a 3.8m win in a 55.4sec last half. Hectorjayjay has raced just once in almost three years. That was for a Kilmore win when trained and driven by Gavin Lang on June 30, 2018. His previous run was victory in the Group 1 B   By Adam Hamilton

Racing Queensland has announced it will now allow conditional horse movement for inter-state standardbreds for the purposes of racing. Standardbred horses which meet one or more of the following eligibility criteria are permitted to enter Queensland for racing purposes and contest the following features. They are: Horses eligible for 2020 QBRED 2YO TRIAD series (Pacing and Trotting) Horses eligible for 2020 QBRED 3YO TRIAD series (Pacing and Trotting) Horses eligible for 2020 QBRED 4YO TRIAD series Horses eligible for the 2020 Redcliffe Yearling Sale 2YO series Horses eligible for the 2020 Redcliffe Yearling Sale 3YO series Horses eligible for the 2020 APG Brisbane Sale 2YO Series Horses eligible for the 2YO Trotters Springboard Series Horses eligible for the 3YO Trotters Springboard Series Horses currently racing inter-state and in a licenced Queensland trainers name as at April 1, 2020 will be also permitted to return to Queensland to race. Any permitted inter-state standardbred must adhere to the following transport guidelines. They are: Inter-state transport of horses by approved float companies Where Government regulations allow, standardbred horses will be permitted to travel to Queensland, however, any licensed or registered personnel, or essential personnel (being those currently approved for access to race meetings and training centres) are not permitted to travel with such horses, other than employees of the ‘Approved Float Company’.  The following conditions also apply: An ‘Approved Float Company’ is any float company which is registered as a transport company, and which has sought and been granted approval by Racing Queensland to transport racing standardbred horses to Queensland from inter-state; For horses currently trained by inter-state trainers, the trainer must make arrangements (notified and approved by the QRIC Stewards) for a designated caretaker trainer within Queensland.  This arrangement must be made and notified to QRIC prior to transport departure; Transport drivers (freight drivers) are to make prior arrangements with drop-off points and are not to access licensed premises when delivering horses (unless otherwise approved by QRIC Stewards). They must remain within their cabin and a designated Queensland staff member of the horse’s trainer/ or caretaker trainer must be on hand to take delivery of the horse being transported; Horses transported must have completed their journey prior to acceptance time of their nominated race; Upon arrival, the designated staff member/trainer collecting the horse must ensure that any gear attached or floated with the horse is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to minimize any risk of COVID-19 being spread within the stabling environment; Prior to and upon completion of the journey, the float company must ensure the vehicle is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to minimize any risk of COVID-19 being spread on future journeys; and Any transport driver undertaking inter-state travel must not enter licensed premises or act in another industry capacity (eg: strapper or stablehand) whereby they enter a racing or training complex in that capacity for a period of 14 days from the date they last entered Queensland from inter-state. Inter-state transport other than by Approved Float Company Where Government regulations allow, horses that meet the above eligible race criteria will be permitted to travel from inter-state to Queensland, however, if the transport is other than with an Approved Float Company, the person transporting that horse (and any persons who come into close contact with that person) will not be permitted access to any licensed racing or training facility in Queensland for a period of at least 14 days. The following conditions also apply: Transport drivers are to make prior arrangements with drop-off points and are not to access licensed premises when delivering horses (unless otherwise approved by QRIC stewards). They must remain within their cabin and a designated Queensland staff member of the horse’s trainer/ or caretaker trainer must be on hand to take delivery of the horse being transported; Upon arrival the designated staff member must ensure that any gear attached or floated with the horse is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to minimize any risk of COVID-19 being spread within the stable environment; Prior to and upon completion of the journey, the float driver must ensure the vehicle is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to minimize any risk of COVID-19 being spread on future journeys; and Any transport driver undertaking inter-state travel must not enter licensed premises or act in another industry capacity (eg: strapper or stablehand) whereby they enter a racing or training complex in that capacity for a period of 14 days from the date they last entered Queensland from inter-state.   Racing Queensland

Racing Queensland has announced its winter programming for the harness code including a number of select feature races. Late last month, RQ confirmed certain Sales and QBRED features would remain as programmed – click here to see the selected features – but the TAB Queensland Constellations would not proceed in the wake of COVID-19. RQ has advised that the following additional features will be held for horses already located in Queensland or who meet its ‘permitted inter-state horse’ conditions. The feature races are:   Date Race Division Track Distance Prize money 27/06/2020 Redcliffe Gold Cup Open Disc Hcp Redcliffe 2613m $25,630 11/07/2020 Wondais Mate (Open) Open Disc Hcp Albion Park 1660m $20,830 11/07/2020 South East Oaks 3YO Fillies Albion Park 2138m $25,630 11/07/2020 Queen Of Hearts Pace Open Mares Albion Park 1660m $20,830 18/07/2020 Mr Feelgood (Open) Open Albion Park 2138m $25,630 18/07/2020 South East Derby Open 3YO Albion Park 2138m $25,630 18/07/2020 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Open (F & M) Albion Park 1660m $25,630 18/07/2020 Trotters Cup Disc Hcp Albion Park 2647m $20,770 25/07/2020 Lucky Creed (Open) Open Albion Park 2680m $25,630 25/07/2020 QLD Trotters Cup Open (MS) Trot Albion Park 2138m $25,740   RQ will now allow conditional horse movement for inter-state standardbreds for the purposes of racing, subject to compliance with its inter-state conditions and transport guidelines. Click here to see RQ’s permitted inter-state conditions and transport guidelines for standardbreds.

ONE of the most brilliant pacers of the modern era, Hectorjayjay, is just weeks away from a remarkable comeback. The $1.1 million-earner has raced just once in almost three years and been through three stables and two stints of retirement since. His last run was a Kilmore win for then trainer-driver Gavin Lang on June 30, 2018. But that was his first run since going amiss after winning the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15, 2017. So there’s some symmetry to the fact his comeback run is set to be at Albion Park late this month. This week was the first time new trainer Jack Butler was comfortable enough to actually talk about a comeback race. It’s because Hectorjayjay not only trialled well at Albion Park last Tuesday, but, more importantly, he came through it very well. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m still taking it day-by-day, but it’s time to look a bit further ahead and think about plans now we’ve got this far,” Butler said. “I’ll give him another trial next week, where we’ll ask a bit more of him, then, all going well again, we’ll look for a race … probably at the end of the month.  “He seems so well. He’s some sort of horse. “Even though we haven’t asked him to ‘go’ yet, he’s just amazing. “I’m leaning towards a first-up run where he has to draw badly and we can sit him up and let him run home, rather than drawing the front where he’s got to use that amazing gate speed of his. “If he comes through this next trial well, I’ll look through the racing options.” Hectorjayjay started his career with trainer Simone Walker, became a Grand Circuit star when he moved to David Aiken’s barn and has since had stints with Gavin Lang and Matty Craven before joining Butler’s stable. “I train for his Victorian-based owner and they sent the horse to me for one last go at getting him back,” Butler said. “So far, so good and it’s a huge thrill to have an opportunity with a horse as good as him.” Hectorjayjay’s raced 80 times for 43 wins, 21 placings and $1,155,307 in earnings.   Adam Hamilton

DUAL Derby winner Line Up’s quest for a third Derby crown is over … at least for now. Anthony Butt’s former Kiwi star was due to fly to Perth tonight (Sunday), but the trip of off owing to COVID-19 precautions. Racing and Wagering Western Australia notified Butt and fiancé Sonya Smith they had imposed a 14-day isolation on interstate visitors. Plans are now for Line Up to have a let-up and target a Queensland winter raid, possibly the new feature, the Rising Sun and the Queensland Derby. Hopefully the impact of COVID-19 has passed so what promises to be a huge Queensland Carnival in July goes ahead. Already the connections of NZ’s best three-year-old boy Copy That, Line Up’s former stablemate, have touted a Queensland trip. Line Up showed plenty of promise in NZ, but has been a revelation since moving to Butt’s Menangle barn. He’s raced just five times for Butt for three wins, two seconds and earned $238,800. Line Up’s omission from the WA Derby leaves Justin Prentice’s exciting local star Major Martini, who made quite the statement winning last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Western Gateway (2536m) at Gloucester Park, a standout. Major Martini led, copped some midrace pressure and still raced right away to beat stablemate Gardys Legacy, who trailed him, by 10.7m in a 1min57sec mile rate. It was his sixth win from 13 starts and certainly stamped him as a clear top seed amongst the local crop. Highly-rated former Kiwi Howard Hughes, who has looked good since joining Team Bond, sat outside Major Martini, but was no match and weakened late for a 17m eighth. Paul Court’s much-travelled Mach Da Vinci made the trip across after a NSW campaign, but didn’t seemed to handle the tight Gloucester Park bends. He did made good late ground for fifth.   By Adam Hamilton

The catalogue for the 2020 Redcliffe Yearling Sale – the sale that has produced the NSW Simpson Sprint winner Governor Jujon and the multiple Group winner Leos Best – is now available online and in hard copy.   In total, 66 yearlings have been catalogued for the sale to be conducted by Darren Ebert and Company at Redcliffe Paceway on Sunday, April 5 at 12 noon.   Progeny of 26 sires such as leading lights Artsplace, Rock N Roll Heaven, Sportswriter, Hurrikane Kingcole, Well Said, Mr Feelgood, Changeover, Courage Under Fire, Western Terror and Cammibest are represented as well as stock of first season sires of the calibre of Always B Miki, Racing Hill and Guaranteed.   Graduates from the sale are eligible for the Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series with a two-year-old Sale Race Classic worth $100,000 in 2021 and a three-year-old Classic carrying a stake of $35,000 in 2022.   They are also eligible for QBred, Breeders Crown, Bathurst Gold Crown and Vicbred.   To request a catalogue, phone Darren Ebert on 0410 688 176 or email ebertancoauctioneer@bigpond.com or phone Redcliffe Harness Racing Club on (07) 3284 4550.   The online catalogue can be viewed at www.darrenebertauctioneer.com.au     by Peter Wharton

Damian Raedler has announced his retirement from harness racing administration. Raedler bows out after a “second time around” as the chief executive of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club. “I’ve had a good innings of nearly 40 years in the business. You know when it’s time,” Raedler said. A flair for race broadcasting saw Raedler offside the legendary John Tapp in the late seventies and early eighties in Sydney at radio station 2GB. He took a quantum leap in 1983 moving his young family to Queensland  to begin what would become  a distinguished career in harness racing administration. Initially the Albion Park HRC marketing manager, he assumed the general manager role not long afterwards and held the position for the next two decades. “I arrived at a great time as it was the opening of the new 1000 metre track and grandstand. Albion Park was dubbed the “speed pacing capital of Australia”, “ he reflected. “These were terrific times. Big crowds and exciting racing,” he added. Raedler is immensely proud of his role in the running of the 1986, 1993 and 2001 Inter Dominions at Albion Park. “I might be biased but some of the best Inter Dominion carnivals were in Queensland,” he said. He returned to New South Wales in 2004 when he secured the appointment  as  chief executive of the commercial arm of Harness Racing New South Wales. This was to be a short stint and soon after he returned to Queensland and his expertise was snapped up by the various controlling bodies of the sport over the next decade. “To be able to return to Albion Park for my final working role was not lost on me,” he said. Current Albion Park HRC chairman David Fowler paid Raedler the highest compliment on the announcement of his retirement. “His word was his bond. His knowledge of the complex was second to none. Not only was he a great administrator but a great friend, “ Fowler said. His expertise was acknowledged in 2008 when he was awarded the Harness Racing Australia “Distinguished National Service Award” for his contribution to the harness racing industry. The Albion Park HRC will now embark on a course to secure a new Chief Executive to replace Raedler. “They will be hard shoes to fill,” Fowler pointed out.   David Fowler

Racing will resume at Redcliffe Paceway on Wednesday following the completion of a $300,000 track upgrade. Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and Attorney-General and Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath inspected the venue after stewards approved the return to racing. Mr Hinchliffe said it was terrific news for the region, as it was the most significant Racing Queensland investment in the venue this decade. “Add to that the fact that new economic data has revealed that harness racing is responsible for generating $21.7 million to the Moreton Bay economy each year,” he said. “More than 18,000 people come to harness racing meetings here, and there are more than 600 participants, including 65 trainers. “Most significantly, however, is that it provides more than 180 full-time jobs right here in Moreton Bay, which is why the Palaszczuk Government supports racing in the Sunshine State.” Mrs D’Ath said that the paceway played an important role across the region and the State. “There’s no doubting that it’s a significant contributor to the Queensland harness racing industry,” Mrs D’Ath. “With more than 100 race meetings each year, it will provide participants with a new and improved racing surface and upgraded training facilities. “I’m really looking forward to seeing it back in action next week.” Redcliffe Harness Racing Club president Bernie Ring said the unique 800-metre track was expected to be better than new when it reopens next week. “This is the first time the track has been resurfaced in 10 years,” Mr Ring said. “I’ve been down to look at it a couple of time and it looks great. “In time I think we will see faster and perhaps some records broken once the track has settled in.”   Racing Queensland

The well supported monthly Ultimate Tools Trotters Cup series is set to continue into the new racing season with local businessman and high profile owner Greg Mitchell not only extending but increasing his sponsorship program of the Albion Park run events. In thanking Mr Mitchell for his continued support, Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman David Fowler said, 'This is great news, the series proved very popular last season and with the added bonuses for next season I am sure it’s popularity will continue to grow'. Over the next twelve months there will be five Discretionary Handicaps, two Band Handicaps and five Mobile races scheduled for the trotters with two of the Discretionary and two of the mobile races to carry increased prize money of $20,000 each. As well as the monthly rug and trophy on offer, the much sought after trainers and drivers cash bonus will also continue with winning drivers and trainers each receiving $250 cash and the winning trainer an additional $500 Ultimate Tools gift voucher. The first of the four $20,000 races will be a 1660 metre mobile and has been scheduled for 31 August with the remaining planned for 26 October (2138 metre Discretionary Hcp), 29 February 2020 (2138 metre Mobile) and 27 June 2020 (2647 metre Discretionary Hcp). The remaining monthly Ultimate Tools Trotters Cups will be run on the last Saturday of each month and carry prize money of $13,200.   Albion Park Media

A TOUGH draw is set to make the bid to keep Expensive Ego’s perfect record intact difficult at Albion Park on Saturday night. Undefeated from four starts, Expensive Ego is poised to contest the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale Final for trainer David Thorn. To Thorn’s dismay, the two-year-old will begin from the outside of the second row. Expensive Ego’s barrier is somewhat self-inflicted after steward’s issued the son of Rock N Roll Heaven with an ‘ODM’ status during his recent Group One Qbred Triad Final victory. “His draw is not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world,” Thorn said. “The inside second or outside the front row would have been worse. “That said it has certainly made life harder for him. “He was made ODM two starts back when he won the Qbred Final, so he was always going to be drawn somewhere like that. “You never know, it may work out to be a blessing in disguise.” To be driven by Jim Douglass, Expensive Ego earned his berth in the $100,550 decider by outstaying his rivals in one of last week’s heats. Settled in the ‘death seat’ from the outside of the front line, Expensive Ego powered his way to a metre-and-a-half win from Our Balou, with Targaryen Hanover 10 metres away third. “He put in another good run in his heat,” Thorn said. “The hit out as done him good and he will be a lot sharper this week. “I will give him his last workout tomorrow, but he is feeling bright and ready to roll.” Regarding Our Balou as a major threat, Thorn is also weary of fellow New South Wales raider Toanui Spirit. One of five Grant Dixon-trained runners in the field, Our Balou will come from barrier six. Prepared by KerryAnn Morris and to be driven by her husband, Robbie, Toanui Spirit has drawn gate two. The filly was too slick in her qualifier when leading throughout from the pole. “Our Balou is the one to beat,” Thorn said. “He did well in the heat and has been consistent. “The draw brings Toanui Spirit right into it, and on her heat run, she will take some running down. “We are likely to follow through at the start, but it depends on how the race unfolds…I’ll leave it up to Jimmy.”   APG Media

In what is fast developing into a cliché, Expensive Ego has become Australian Pacing Gold’s latest Group One winner. Purchased from last season’s APG Brisbane Sale, Expensive Ego joined the company’s ever-growing list of top shelf winners by capturing last night’s Qbred Triad Final at Albion Park. In doing so the two-year-old maintained his undefeated status from three starts for New South Wales trainer David Thorn. Naturally impressed with the son of Rock N Roll Heaven, Thorn will remain in Queensland with Expensive Ego in preparation for APG Brisbane Sale Series. Heats are scheduled to be conducted on August 2, with the $100,000 Final the following week. “He’ll have a few light days now then I’ll get him ready for the APG heats,” Thorn said. “I have him and a couple of others up here and will be staying for a few weeks. “He has pulled up a treat from last night, you wouldn’t even know he’d raced, which is terrific. “Hopefully he can go just as well in that series as he did in the Qbred.” With Jimmy Douglass holding the reins, Expensive Ego began roughly from barrier four as Another Statement led from gate two. Given time to find his rhythm, Expensive Ego was then sent forward to test the pacemaker from the breeze. Forging his way to the front around the home turn, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven dashed to a three-and-a-half metre win from the previously unbeaten Governor Jujon, with Mistery Road eight meters away third. Owned by Jason Grice, the colt rated 1:52.9 over 1660 metres. “Knowing how good he feels I expected him to be hard to beat, but I just wasn’t sure how to line up the Queensland form,” Thorn said. “He ran up to expectations and did it quite comfortably. “Jimmy still had a handful of horse on the line.”   APG Media

The 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit came to a dramatic finale at Albion Park in Brisbane tonight (Saturday) with local hero Colt Thirty One storming to victory in the Gr.1 $250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship. Trained and driven by Grant Dixon, Colt Thirty One ($4.60) sat off a hot pace before thundering down the outside to defeat Alta Orlando ($26) and Letsspendanitetogetha ($51) in the 2680m mobile start feature. Colt Thirty One created a new track record when recording a winning mile rate of 1:53.7 – easily eclipsing the previous mark of 1:54.8 set last year by Let It Ride. Win, lose or draw the title of Grand Circuit champion was safely in the keeping of Tiger Tara but that didn’t stop the double millionaire attempting to put an exclamation mark against his dream season. Triumphant in the Inter Dominion Grand Final, Victoria and Hunter Cups, the Kevin Pizzuto trained star was installed as favourite for the Brisbane feature despite a second-line draw but faced stiff opposition from a number of in-form rivals. With Our Uncle Sam, Cash N Flow and Ohoka Punter all leaving the gate with urgency, it was Ohoka Punter who owned the best gate speed as he cleared from his wide draw which left Our Uncle Sam without cover while Cash N Flow landed the position on the back of the leader. Dixon sat patiently towards the rear of the field and allowed Colt Thirty One to find his rhythm while the early jostling continued at a frantic pace. The lead time was covered in 75.5 seconds. Ohoka Punter led the way from Our Uncle Sam while Tiger Tara made his move passing the 1800m marker and really forced the pressure. The first half of the final mile was covered in 27.3 and 29.3 seconds. Entering the back straight, Ohoka Punter led the way with Tiger Tara drawing closer on his outside while many rivals started to feel the pinch. Cash N Flow raced roughly mid-way down the back straight and gave ground quickly which checked a number of runners including Northview Hustler. The third quarter was covered in 28.6 seconds. At the top of the home straight, Tiger Tara raced to a narrow lead while Watch Pulp Fiction loomed to his outside quickly before Colt Thirty One and Alta Orlando began to charge. Colt Thirty One held Alta Orlando while Letsspendanitetogetha bobbed for third just in front of Watch Pulp Fiction, Alleluia and Tiger Tara. The winning margin was 1.7 over Alta Orlando while there was a further 7.1m back to Letsspendanitetogetha in third. The final quarter was timed in 28.7 seconds. An official protest was lodged by driver Anthony Butt (Alta Orlando) against the winner for alleged interference over the concluding stages but was ultimately dismissed. “The speed was strong throughout which gave us an opportunity to work into it over the latter stages, he was solid in the straight and did it nicely.” Dixon said. The victory provided Dixon with his maiden Grand Circuit victory. Bred and raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour, the Mach Three – Charm Personified four-year-old registered his 32nd victory from 46 starts while his earnings now exceed $711,000. Colt Thirty One has now won three Gr.1 events to date. The 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season is now complete with Tiger Tara the official Grand Circuit champion after amassing 375 points for the term. Tiger Tara finished well clear of Thefixer (164) and Our Uncle Sam (121).   Chris Barsby

TRAINER Chris Frisby sick of chasing Tiger Tara with his stable star Our Uncle Sam. In four meetings, Our Uncle Sam is yet to beat Tiger Tara home, but everything favours Frisby’s pacer to turn the tables in Saturday night’s $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park. “This is our chance the way the barriers have fallen and how well we’ve got ‘Sam’ going into the race,” Frisby said. “If we can find the lead, and I think there’s a great chance we can, we won’t be handing-up to Tiger if he comes attacking. We’ll make him do all the work.” Our Uncle Sam has run second to Tiger Tara at their past three meetings, including in the Inter Dominion final and Hunter Cup. “But the difference this time is Tiger is drawn the back row and we’ve drawn so well (gate two),” Frisby said. “I also really believe we’ve got ‘Sam’ as good as we can have him. “We were really confident heading into the Sunshine Sprint last week, but Alta Orlando wiped us out at the start and that was the end of that. “We were due for some luck and we’ve got it with the draws this week. And the 2680m suits him better than sprint racing as well.” Aussie TAB punters agree with Frisby’s confidence, having quickly backed Our Uncle Sam from $3.60 into $2.80 since Tuesday morning’s barrier draw. He could challenge for favouritism with Tiger Tara already easing from $2.40 to $2.60. Tiger Tara’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto remains confident despite the barrier draw blow. All of Tiger Tara’s three Group 1 Aussie wins have come from front row draws. “The draw makes it harder, but I’ve got the horse where I want him. That (Menangle) win the other night was easy and it topped him off nicely,” he said. “Everything tells me he’s at least as good, if not better, than last time in work.” Queensland’s pin-up horse Colt Thirty One is the other major player as a $4.80 shot from the back row (gate 11). He was beaten after burning to hold the front last week, but it again showed he’s at his most lethal coming from off the speed.   Adam Hamilton

A PERFECT barrier draw should see buzz Kiwi pacer Self Assured maintain his unbeaten status and win his first Group 1 race at Albion Park on Saturday night. Fresh from a breathtaking last-stride win over Lochinvar Art in last week’s Group 3 South-East Derby, Self Assured has drawn much better against the largely the same rivals in Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby. Self Assured has gate four with Mark Purdon returning to drive, while major rivals Lochinvar Art (six) and superstar filly Our Princess Tiffany (10) drawn much worse. Only stablemate Jesse Duke, who Luke McCarthy will drive, drew better in gate two. It looks certain Self Assured will push forward and find the front, in contrast to having to sit parked and win last week. The Aussie TAB opened him $1.40 and punters have already stepped-in and he’s now $1.35. Jesse Duke is $5 second elect, while Our Princess Tiffany ($6.50) and Lochinvar Art ($9) are next. In the other feature, the $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake, a back row draw to Inter Dominion winner Tiger Tara has breathed plenty of life into the race. Tiger Tara has gate 12 and already eased from $2.40 to $2.60. Our Uncle Sam, who ran second to Tiger Tara in that Inter Dominion final, has been crunched from $3.60 into $2.60 and could challenge for favouritism from gate two. The Chris and Anthony Frisby-trained pacer was poleaxed at the start of last week’s Group 1 Sunshine Sprint and basically took no part. Local hero Colt Thirty One also drew the back row (gate 11), but it could suit his preferred sit-and-swoop racing style. He’s a $4.60 shot. Last week’s upset Sunshine Sprint winner Ohoka Punter goes from the pole to outside front (gate seven) and is a $51 shot to complete the double.   Adam Hamilton

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